Toronto City Council to Again Consider Allowing Electric Scooters at July 19-21 Meeting – Tell Them to Just Say No!

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities https://www.aodaalliance.org aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

July 12, 2023

SUMMARY

Despite strong consistent objections from the disability community, the July 19-21, 2023, Toronto City Council agenda will include an item on whether to consider re-opening the ban on e-scooters which Toronto City Council unanimously supported just two years ago. We urge everyone to email, phone or tweet Toronto City Council members now! Tell them to just say no to re-opening the ban on e-scooters.

We have no idea what specific motion City Council will consider at its upcoming meeting. That alone is very unfair to the public, including the disability community. Toronto’s just-elected mayor Olivia Chow will have no time before this City Council meeting to get herself up to speed on this issue and to learn from us about the dangers that e-scooters pose to safety and accessibility for vulnerable people with disabilities and seniors. That is even more unfair to us.

Below you can find key points you might wish to tell them, and the names and contact information for Toronto City Council. We also offer ideas of what you might wish to tell them. You only need to write them a sentence or two!

Why is this coming up again now in Toronto? It is because at its June 28, 2023, meeting, the Toronto City Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee passed a rather bizarre motion. It first heard deputations from the public. All presenters from the disability community once again told Toronto not to lift the ban on e-scooters. You can also find the puzzling and somewhat disturbing extract from the minutes of the June 28, 2023, meeting of Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee where it was decided to send this issue to City Council.

At its June 28, 2023, meeting, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee did not pass the recommendation presented by City Council member Diane Saxe. The Committee did not make any recommendation at all. It simply voted that this issue should be sent to be discussed at the next meeting of the full City Council, and that City staff should make some sort of report.

We will not have had any chance to see and make a deputation on any such report before City Council receives it. It will not have been reviewed by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee before City Council debates this issue.

This is all extremely unfair to vulnerable Torontonians with disabilities and seniors. Two years ago, Toronto City Council unanimously voted to uphold the ban on e-scooters at the urging of people with disabilities and seniors, due to disability safety and accessibility concerns.

At the June 28, 2023, Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, City staff did not recommend that the ban on e-scooters be reversed or re-opened. They did not suggest that new technology will prevent the proven dangers that e-scooters present. They noted that the Toronto Medical Officer of Health has not departed from their position that e-scooters should remained banned.

Instead of re-opening the ban on riding e-scooters in public places, Toronto should do a much better job of enforcing that ban. This has been the consistent message from people with disabilities and seniors at every meeting of any committee of Toronto City Council that has welcomed deputations.

At the June 28, 2023, meeting of Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee, the only speakers opposing us were corporate lobbyists from the e-scooter rental companies. They want to make lots of money by flooding Toronto with dangerous rental e-scooters. They have created a dangerous urban blight in other cities where they have been allowed.

MORE DETAILS

Key Points to Make with Any Member of Toronto City Council You Email, Phone or Tweet

* Experience in city after city shows that e-scooters, a silent menace, endanger public safety. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. E-scooters especially endanger vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t know when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted, fun-seeking joyriders. Often left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are dangerous tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.

* It does not protect the public to only ban e-scooters from sidewalks. E-scooters are frequently ridden on sidewalks in cities that ban them only from sidewalks. We’d need cops on every block. Contrary to the claim by e-scooter corporate lobbyists, there is no magical new technology that will effectively and reliably stop e-scooters from being ridden on sidewalks. Even if the e-scooter rental companies had such technology, the many privately sold and privately owned e-scooters illegally being ridden on our sidewalks, paths and streets have no such technology.

* E-scooters would cost taxpayers substantially, such as for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating victims injured by e-scooters, and lawsuits by the injured. With its unsolved deficit, Toronto has more pressing budget priorities. E-scooter corporate lobbyists make bogus claims that e-scooters will cost the public nothing.

* City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many innocent people will be injured? We already know they will from cities that allow them. Toronto residents and visitors should not be forced to be unwilling guinea pigs in such a human experiment, especially without the consent of people at risk of being injured.

* At the June 28, 2023, Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, some City Council members wrongly put the issue as either leaving e-scooters unregulated, with the chaos now on Toronto streets, or regulating them. This is a false dilemma. There is a third and much better option, namely effectively enforcing the ban on riding e-scooters in public places.

* At its June 28, 2023, meeting, one member of Toronto City Council said law enforcement in Toronto can’t or won’t enforce the ban on e-scooters in Toronto. We don’t believe that vulnerable members of the public can or should accept this. Our City Government and police are now powerless to protect us from a proven danger. It is wrong to approach this issue as if there is no option for better enforcing the law!

* It is wrong for City Council members to think that it would improve things for them to allow a pilot program with rental e-scooters and regulate them. This will make things worse. It will flood our streets with even more e-scooters. It will do nothing to effectively regulate the e-scooters that are privately sold and privately ridden on our sidewalks, paths and streets, endangering us all.

* Toronto now has a major deficit. Toronto has more important priorities than spending public money and more staff time on the e-scooters issue, after exhaustively studying and debating it just two years ago.

* Tell City Council members and their staff to learn more by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page.

Contact Information for Members of Toronto City Council

Toronto Mayor-Elect Olivia Chow
Email: MayorTO@toronto.ca
Twitter: @OliviaChow

Ward 1 Councillor Vincent Crisanti
Email: Councillor_Crisanti@toronto.ca
Twitter [no apparent Twitter]
Phone 416-397-9255

Ward 2 Councillor Stephen Holyday
Email: councillor_holyday@toronto.ca
Twitter @stephenholyday
Phone 416-392-4002

Ward 3 Councillor Amber Morley
Email: Councillor_Morley@toronto.ca
Twitter @CllrAmberMorley
Phone 416-397-9273

Ward 4 Councillor Gord Perks
Email: councillor_perks@toronto.ca
Twitter @GordPerks
Phone 416-392-7919

Ward 5 Councillor Frances Nunziata
Email: councillor_nunziata@toronto.ca
Twitter @FrancesNunziata
Phone 416-392-4091

Ward 6 Councillor James Pasternak
Email: councillor_pasternak@toronto.ca
Twitter @PasternakTO
Phone 416-392-1371

Ward 7 Councillor Anthony Perruzza
Email: councillor_perruzza@toronto.ca
Twitter [no apparent Twitter]
Phone 416-338-5335

Ward 8 Councillor Mike Colle
Email: councillor_colle8@toronto.ca
Twitter @MikeColleTO
Phone 416-338-2500

Ward 9 Councillor Alejandra Bravo
Email: Councillor_Bravo@toronto.ca
Twitter @BravoDavenport
Phone 416-392-7012

Ward 10 Councillor Ausma Malik
Email: Councillor_Malik@toronto.ca
Twitter @Ausmalik
Phone 416-392-4044

Ward 11 Councillor Dianne Saxe
Email: Councillor_Saxe@toronto.ca
Twitter @DianneSaxe (may be outdated)
Phone 416-392-4009

Ward 12 Councillor Josh Matlow
Email: councillor_matlow@toronto.ca
Twitter @JoshMatlow (may be outdated)
Phone 416-392-7906

Ward 13 Councillor Chris Moise
Email: Councillor_Moise@toronto.ca
Twitter [no Twitter]
Phone 416-392-7903

Ward 14 Councillor Paula Fletcher
Email: councillor_fletcher@toronto.ca
Twitter @PaulaFletcherTO
Phone 416-392-4060

Ward 15 Councillor Jaye Robinson
Email: councillor_robinson@toronto.ca
Twitter @JayeRobinson
Phone 416-395-6408

Ward 16 Councillor Jon Burnside
Email: Councillor_Burnside@toronto.ca
Twitter @JonBurnsideDVE
Phone 416-397-9256

Ward 17 Councillor Shelley Carroll
Email: councillor_carroll@toronto.ca
Twitter @ShelleyCarroll
Phone 416-338-2650

Ward 18 Councillor Lily Cheng
Email: Councillor_Cheng@toronto.ca
Twitter @lilycheng (may be outdated)
Phone 416-392-0210

Ward 19 Councillor Brad Bradford
Email: councillor_bradford@toronto.ca
Twitter @BradMBradford (may be outdated)
Phone 416-338-2755

Ward 20 Councillor Gary Crawford
Email: councillor_crawford@toronto.ca
Twitter [no apparent Twitter]
Phone 416-392-4052

Ward 21 Councillor Michael Thompson
Email: councillor_thompson@toronto.ca
Twitter @votemthompson (may be outdated)
Phone 416-397-9274

Ward 22 Councillor Nick Mantas
Email: Councillor_Mantas@toronto.ca
Twitter [no apparent Twitter]
Phone 416-392-1374

Ward 23 Councillor Jamaal Myers
Email: Councillor_Myers@toronto.ca
Twitter @CllrJamaalMyers
Phone 416-338-2858

Ward 24 Councillor Paul Ainslie
Email: councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca
Twitter @Ainslie_Ward24
Phone 416-392-4008

Ward 25 Councillor Jennifer McKelvie
Email: councillor_mckelvie@toronto.ca
Twitter @McKelvieTO
Phone 416-338-3771

Decision of the City of Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee Regarding E-scooter As Recorded in the Committee’s June 28, 2023 Minutes

Originally posted at https://secure.toronto.ca/council/agenda-item.do?item=2023.IE5.5 City of Toronto
Item – 2023.IE5.5

This item was considered by Infrastructure and Environment Committee on June 28, 2023. It is being forwarded to City Council without recommendations. It will be considered by City Council on July 19, 2023.

IE5.5 – Planning for an E Scooter Pilot
Decision Type: ACTION
Status: Without Recs
Ward: 11 – University – Rosedale
Committee Recommendations
Infrastructure and Environment Committee forwarded this Item to City Council without recommendations.

Decision Advice and Other Information
Infrastructure and Environment Committee requested the General Manager, Transportation Services to report directly to the July 19, 20 and 21, 2023 meeting of City Council with recommendations on planning for an E-scooter program in the City of Toronto.

Origin
(June 15, 2023) Letter from Councillor Dianne Saxe
Summary
In January 2020, the province began a five-year pilot project allowing municipalities to regulate the use of electric kick-scooters (Electric kick-style scooters (e-scooters) | ontario.ca).

In 2021, Toronto chose not to partake in the pilot project, largely because of concerns raised by the disability community about e-scooters being ridden and littered on the sidewalk. As a result, e-scooters are not for rent in Toronto, and cannot lawfully be operated in public space. Nevertheless, many individuals own and use them on city streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.

E scooters can offer a valuable micro mobility option that can help Torontonians get around in a congested city, and help Toronto meet its TransformTO climate goals. E-scooters are inexpensive, use very little energy, take less road space than other micro-mobility options, create no pollution at the point of use, can be used without physical effort and in virtually any clothing, and are widely considered fun to use. They can be folded and carried on transit when bikes and other “last mile” options cannot.

However, e-scooters pose serious risks to pedestrians, especially people with disabilities, particularly if they are operated and parked on the sidewalk, and they have often been operated without insurance. The city has no resources available to devote to enforcement of e-scooter compliance. There have also been a significant number of injuries to e-scooter riders, especially when riding without helmets. Toronto’s streetcar tracks and potholes pose a greater risk to e-scooters, with their comparatively small wheels and wheelbases, than they do to bicycles and larger vehicles.

Some e-scooter companies claim that, since 2021, they have developed technology that prevents their e-scooters from operating on the sidewalk, have obtained adequate insurance and have otherwise addressed these concerns. The onus of proof would be on the providers of the e-scooters, under realistic and representative Toronto conditions.

As well as many other cities around the world, several Ontario municipalities permit the use of e-scooters, including Ottawa, Durham (By-law 23-2022) and Brampton.

The Toronto Parking Authority is interested in exploring whether to add e-scooters to its very successful Bikeshare program, as some other cities have done. The opportunity to do so under the province’s 5 year pilot will expire in 2025.

Background Information
(June 15, 2023) Letter from Councillor Dianne Saxe on Planning for an E Scooter Pilot https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-237443.pdf Communications
(June 23, 2023) Letter from Adam Roy Cohoon (IE.Supp)
(June 22, 2023) E-mail from Douglas Buck (IE.Supp)
(June 23, 2023) Letter from David Lepofsky, Chair, on behalf of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171014.pdf (June 23, 2023) E-mail from Angelo Bertolas (IE.Supp)
(June 23, 2023) E-mail from Jim Hamilton (IE.Supp)
(June 23, 2023) E-mail from Rocky Serkowney (IE.Supp)
(June 23, 2023) E-mail from Kate Chung (IE.Supp)
(June 24, 2023) E-mail from Gray Taylor (IE.Supp)
(June 26, 2023) E-mail from Jennifer Griffiths (IE.Supp)
(June 26, 2023) Letter from Alison Stewart on behalf of Cycle Toronto (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171027.pdf (June 25, 2023) Letter from Joe Hendry, Hoof & Cycle (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171028.pdf (June 26, 2023) Letter from Aaron Binder, Segway Ontario (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171032.pdf (June 27, 2023) Letter from Councillor Paul Ainslie (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171042.pdf
(June 27, 2023) Letter from Victoria Pearson on behalf of March of Dimes Canada (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171043.pdf (June 27, 2023) E-mail from Hamish Wilson (IE.Supp)
(June 27, 2023) E-mail from Alan Conway (IE.Supp)
(June 27, 2023) E-mail from Wayne Antle (IE.Supp)
(June 27, 2023) E-mail from Moaz Ahmed, SCOOTY (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171051.pdf (June 27, 2023) Letter from Geoff Kettel and Cathie Macdonald, FoNTRA (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171052.pdf
(June 27, 2023) Letter from David Lepofsky, Chair, on behalf of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (IE.Supp) https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2023/ie/comm/communicationfile-171185.pdf (June 28, 2023) E-mail from David Isaacson (IE.Supp)
(June 27, 2023) E-mail from Adam Rodgers (IE.Supp)
Speakers
Jason Mitschele
David Lepofsky
Michael Covato, Bird Canada
Marcia Yale, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
Aaron Binder, Segway of Ontario
Adam Roy Cohoon
Robert Gardner
Hamish Wilson (Submission Filed)
Moaz Ahmad SCOOTY
Alan Conway, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (Submission Filed)
Geoff Kettel, Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations (FoNTRA) (Submission Filed) Alison Stewart, Cycle Toronto
John Bitove, Bird Canada
Motions
1 – Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Amber Morley (Redundant) That the Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommends that:

1. City Council direct the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Toronto Parking Authority, the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, other relevant divisions, agencies, boards and commissions and key stakeholders including the Accessibility Advisory Committee, to report back to the February 2024 meeting of Infrastructure and Environment Committee on a Micromobility Strategy as part of a comprehensive “Active Transportation Network” for the City of Toronto.

2. City Council request that the report evaluate:

a. the impact of a possible E-Scooter Rental Pilot Project on utilization of City resources, including police and municipal licensing;

b. what options the City has to ensure that privately owned scooters have adequate insurance, speed limits and other protections for vulnerable road users; and

c. how other North American cities manage the risks that e-scooters pose to pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

3. City Council request Transport Canada to regulate harmonized micromobility vehicle safety, standards, testing and labelling, and conduct robust consultation with key stakeholders on universal accessibility, active transportation, and road safety, given the importance of consumer safety and protection, as well as clarity for businesses that manufacture, import, distribute, retail and provide insurance products for micromobility.

4. City Council request the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, to consult with accessibility stakeholders to develop a public education campaign to effectively convey the existing By-laws on the prohibition of e-scooters use in all public spaces.

2 – Motion to forward item Without Recommendations moved by Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Carried)
That Infrastructure and Environment Committee forward the item to City Council without recommendations, and request the General Manager, Transportation Services to report directly to the July 19, 20 and 21, 2023 meeting of City Council with recommendations on planning for an E-scooter program in the City of Toronto.

Vote (Without Recommendations)Jun-28-2023
Result: Carried Majority Required – Adopt motion 2 by Chair McKelvie
Total members that votedYes: 4 Members that voted Yes areJon Burnside, Jennifer McKelvie (Chair), Amber Morley, Dianne Saxe
Total members that votedNo: 2 Members that voted No areMike Colle, Anthony Perruzza Total members that wereAbsent: 0 Members that were absent are Point of Order by Councillor Mike Colle
Councillor Mike Colle, on a Point of Order, stated that questions of staff should be made with respect.

Ruling by Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie
Chair McKelvie accepted the Point of Order and asked that Councillor Saxe rephrase the question to staff.